It’s not about abortion. It’s about the next 20 years. Twenties and thirties, it was the role of government. Fifties and sixties, it was civil rights. The next two decades, it’s gonna be privacy. I’m talking about the Internet. I’m talking about cellphones. I’m talking about health records, and who’s gay and who’s not. And moreover, in a country born on a will to be free, what could be more fundamental than this?
The West Wing — “The Short List”
Story By: Aaron Sorkin & Dee Dee Myers (script here).
I keep thinking about business decisions, and how much impact they have on others.
And I keep thinking about personal decisions, and how much impact they have on others.
And I keep thinking about when to make what public. But, it may not be up to the company, or the individual, to say… Not anymore.
Technology keeps moving forward. What we can do, we seem to do. And, so, if I can put a message on Facebook, everybody has a chance of seeing it. And, if someone else has a message about me, a photo of me, a video of me, and if I am famous enough, or important enough, or silly enough, there is a pretty good chance it will spread far and wide.
In the first season of The West Wing, there is a “shoo-in” supreme court appointee who is rejected by President Bartlet because of his understanding of privacy.
The episode first aired in November, 1999, pretty much before any of us had high-speed for the internet, long before Twitter and MySpace were born, quite a few years before Facebook became so omnipresent. The script was written by Dee Dee Myers, and Aaron Sorkin, who recently wrote the screen-play for the movie The Social Network, about Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg.
In the news this week, Facebook’s security was breached, and a whole lot of information about actual people went tumbling out for many to see.
It’s being claimed that some of the most popular applications on Facebook have been transmitting information identifying users.
The company said that it would introduce new technology to limit the security breach.
Facebook developer Mike Vernal blogged: ” We take user privacy seriously. We are dedicated to protecting private user data.”
(Read the story here).
I do realize that I can choose what to post in my Facebook page, and in/on my Tweets.
But in a world where people secretly (and publicly) take pictures, and videos, and put them up for the world to see, it seems that this discussion of privacy from the first season of The West Wing is eerily prescient, and a still unsettled issue of our day.
“What could be more fundamental than this?” asked Sam Seaborn. It’s a good question.